Archive | February, 2007

  • The Swedish Welfare State: A Model for Canadian Labor?

    When I ask Canadian trade unionists and activists fighting against lower labor and social standards about their political vision, they often refer to European welfare states, notably Sweden.  The Swedish social system, their reference implies, proves that there is an alternative to the neo-liberal politics of boosting profits at the expense of working people.  It […]

  • All Roads Lead to Checkpoints

    All roads may have once led to Rome, but, for the Palestinian people, all roads lead to checkpoints.  The latest checkpoint to block the Palestinians is not manned by Israel but the ostensible mediator of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Quartet (which is composed of the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United […]

  • The Imperfect Sex: Why Is Sor Juana Not a Saint? [El sexo imperfecto. ¿Por qué Sor Juana no es Santa?]

    Cada poder hegemónico en cada tiempo establece los límites de lo normal y, en consecuencia, de lo natural.  Así, el poder que ordenaba la sociedad patriarcal se reservaba (se reserva) el derecho incuestionable de definir qué era un hombre y qué era una mujer.  Cada vez que algún exaltado recurre al mediocre argumento de que […]

  • Reversing the American Dream

    Perhaps the fastest growing new “wealth-management” tool in the US is the reverse mortgage.  The Federal Housing Administration insured 76,351 such mortgages in 2006 compared with 43,131 in 2005.  Industry officials expect around 120,000 reverse mortgages to be signed in 2007.  In 1990, only 150 reverse mortgages were arranged.  Traditional mortgages were the crucial means […]

  • “A Politics about Performing Dreams”: An Interview with Stephen Duncombe

    DREAM: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy by Stephen DuncombeBUY THIS BOOK Stephen Duncombe is a long-time activist and a professor of at the Gallatin School at New York University.  His new book Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy urges progressives to tap into popular fantasies and desires and to […]

  • Reflections on Letters from Iwo Jima

      War is dehumanizing.  By its very nature, it forces a coarse division between us and the other.  All the lofty ideals — be they revolutionary or reactionary — cannot change this.  Clint Eastwood‘s new movie Letters from Iwo Jima is a sobering and deeply humanist perspective on the horrors of war.  Relying on a […]

  • Reinventing the Wheel: The Future for the UAW

    The latest news from the Big Three (Chrysler, Ford, and GM) automakers is bad.  As of Valentine’s Day — how appropriate for North American workers to receive another shot to the heart — the permanent force reduction now exceeds 100,000.  Most of the jobs eliminated are hourly workers, UAW and CAW union members in fact […]

  • Where Is the German Trade Union Movement and Where Is It Going?

      Germany is the world’s leading exporter and the third largest industrial economy, following Japan and the United States.  German multi-nationals are drowning in supreme opulence, yet the wages of German workers remain severely depressed.  The Wall Street Journal, engaging in low-intensity class struggle labor journalism, confirmed in its January article “German Unions See Leverage […]

  • Pledging Allegiance: The Politics of Patriotism in America’s Schools

    Teachers College Press and the Gottesman Libraries are pleased to invite you to aBook Signing & Discussion What does it mean to be “patriotic” in the U. S. after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001?  And how have the prevailing notions of patriotism — loudly trumpeted in the American media — affected education in […]

  • Help Direct the Rudderless Labor Media

    In the 1980s, the right wing began its media blitz and has kept it up since then, but the labor movement has failed to match it or even develop a minimal communications network to reach union and non-union workers with information crucial to their wellbeing.  The movement has no national newspaper or magazine and no […]

  • Global Solidarity School

    The Global Solidarity School is the initiative of progressive Canadians involved in trade union and academic education.  The school will combine educational programs with Cuban cultural explorations that extend well beyond a typical tourist experience. As a student at the Global Solidarity School, you will meet with international counterparts who care about the wellbeing of […]

  • Will The Lives of Others Get an Oscar for Best Foreign Film?

    A film from Germany has a one-in-five chance of winning an Oscar next week: it’s called The Lives of Others.  The film was cleverly written, well directed, and well acted.  Why do I hope it does not get the valuable little statuette? It is the story about a dogmatic officer of the East German “Stasi,” […]

  • U.S. Imperialism and Arroyo Regime in the Philippines on Trial at the Permanent People’s Tribunal, the Hague

      An interview with Luis Jalandoni, chairperson of the National Democratic Front-Philippines Negotiating Panel, follows E. San Juan, Jr.’s analysis. The February visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, Prof. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, reconfirmed the barbarism of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s de facto martial-law regime in the Philippines.  Stavenhagen bewailed the worsening pattern of […]

  • The Decline of Public Higher Education

    Over the last quarter century, Americans got used to the idea of their children going on to colleges and universities.  In the early 1970s, about 8.5 million Americans attended such institutions; by 2004 the number had doubled.  The US population across this time rose by less than 50%.  This spectacular growth in our student population […]

  • Is the New UN Global Warming Report Too Conservative?

    There is now a strong consensus among climate scientists that human activities are the primary forces responsible for the observed warming of the earth’s atmosphere.  The recently released fourth assessment report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that warming is “unequivocal” and human […]

  • Now (That the Dems Have Taken Back Congress) What?

    The November ’06 election presents socialists and progressives in the US with a (thankfully) new situation.  The next couple of years offer many opportunities, questions, and dilemmas . If we squarely face the many complications inherent in the current balance of class forces in America, maybe we can help to keep things moving away from […]

  • Uprising against the “War on Terror”: The Danger of US Foreign Policy to International Security

    For those among us who hoped that 2007 would be a more orderly year in world politics, the current trends have been frustrating.  Over the past few weeks, the Bush administration has pursued the escalation of two major international crises. The first major crisis is taking place in Somalia, where the Ethiopian Army and its […]

  • Picturing Reality

      A Sense of History? “Kahin building, kahin trame, kahin motor, kahin mil; sab milta hai yahan par bas milta nahin dil,”1 croons the late Johnny Walker to Sahir Ludhayanvi‘s immortal lyrics (CID, 1956) while ruing the difficulties one has to face in finding true love in a world of industry, automation, and speed.  In […]

  • Inconvenient Truths

    We humans are basically big furless animals who make tremendous demands on energy and materials for staying warm in cold places and cool in hot places.  It wouldn’t hurt any of us to recognize this biological fact.  Right now I’m burning big chunks of stove wood, to keep warm at zero F.  We possess, each […]

  • Ammunition against the Empire

      Need a crash course on the present state of the world?  Want to untangle the terminology, separate the victims from the victimizers, understand the dynamics of unilateralism, and deduce what can be done about it all?  I’d like to introduce you to a small literary arsenal. A good place to begin is the book […]